Prep baseball: Rock Ridge opens new fields in style
The Wolverines baseball and softball teams opened their new turf field Thursday with games against Hibbing.
VIRGINIA — A season-opening win is one thing, but a walk-off season-opening win is even better.
Rock Ridge got that walk-off win when the Wolverines’ Griffin Dosan drove in Tate Uhan in the bottom of the seventh to take a 4-3 win over Hibbing in both teams’ season openers.
Yet somehow it got even better for the Wolverines Thursday.
Rock Ridge High School isn’t quite done yet, but with the new turf baseball and softball fields on the campus free of snow after a warm sunny week — and plenty of help from the Wolverines’ facilities staff — they were able put their new diamonds on display.
Rock Ridge led 3-1 late, but Hibbing scored twice in the top of the sixth to tie the game and set up Dosan’s game-winning RBI.
“The kids responded, they didn’t let it get them down and they came back,” Wolverines coach Jamie Lindseth said. “We brought the top of the order in the seventh, which was nice, and they took care of business, which was really good. It was a lot of fun and a team win, all the way around.”
Lindseth said after years of working with the older facilities at Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia high schools, it was special to play on the pristine fields that are the future of Rock Ridge.
“The kids never complained, they went to work with what they had — as did the coaches,” Lindseth said. “But boy, I tell you what, we are very appreciative of the school district and the taxpayers who were able to put this thing together for us. We don’t take it lightly, they want to take care of it. They’re running around cleaning things up like it’s their own house.”
Wolverines can’t solve Bluejackets’ Boben
Across the parking lot, the Rock Ridge softball team struggled to get anything going against Hibbing pitcher Aune Boben in a 6-0 win for the Bluejackets.
Boben allowed six hits and struck out 12 in the win for Hibbing.
Wolverines coach Paula Dundas would like to have opened with a win, but she knows that the Rock Ridge program is still coming together. Dundas coached Eveleth-Gilbert in 2022, and said the Golden Bears returned five starters and Virginia returned seven starters, which makes spots in the lineup harder to come by.
“Neither team lost a whole lot of kids,” Dundas said. “It’s been challenging, but it’s also been wonderful because the girls have been pushing each other and working so hard to get those spots.”
Dundas said she reminded her players how rare it is to get to play softball on a turf field.
“Superior has a turf softball field and we have turf softball fields and everybody else plays on a football field, which works for them,” Dundas said. “I just wanted them to realize just how special and unique those fields are — they’re just beautiful — and there’s a good possibility that there were only about four teams up here playing outside and we got to be one of them. We just feel so luck and so blessed that we get this opportunity.”